Strong links with China forged by the Council are helping Derby County to explore new horizons.

Council Leader Ranjit Banwait has just returned from Hefei city in Anhui Province, where he helped to make important new connections for the club.

The trip, which was supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has not been publicised until now at the request of Derby County.

The Council has established warm relations with senior officials in Hefei, who are interesting in pursuing cultural, tourism and business opportunities in Derby.

Council Leader, Ranjit Banwait meets members of a Hefei football team
Council Leader, Ranjit Banwait meets members of a Hefei football team

Rams Chief Operating Officer John Vicars and Chief Executive Sam Rush asked for Councillor Banwait’s support, as the club explores new commercial openings in the huge Chinese market.

Mr Rush, who is also club President, said:

“Ranjit has worked extremely hard to connect in particular with the Chinese city of Hefei and for part of the trip we were able to work together with him in China’s fastest growing region.

“In just a week there is a limit to what can be accomplished but it was an excellent first visit and we expect, alongside the City Council, to develop our relationships with Chinese businesses much further in the coming times.”

Last week’s trip is the latest in a series of formal connections between Derby and China, as the Council presses ahead with its pledge to secure new foreign trade and investment opportunities to boost the local economy.

Councillor Banwait held talks with a range of Hefei representatives and also met a representative appointed in China to promote the interests of the University of Derby.

He said:

“I’m delighted that I’ve been able to help Derby County through our contacts and increasingly friendly relations with Hefei.  This is the sort of partnership working which can only benefit Derby as a whole.”